Jessica Pistole is returning to NAIA Southern Oregon as the program’s head coach, according to a school release on Sunday night.
Pistole spent the abbreviated 2020 season as the head coach at Division I San Diego, guiding the Toreros to a 15-12 during the shortened campaign. She was officially named as USD’s head coach in July 2019.
Quoted in a Southern Oregon press release, Pistole said, “”SOU and Ashland are home to our family. When the season ended and we had a chance to step back from softball, we realized this is where the many pieces of family life and coaching work for us. As the conversations unfolded and the opportunity was presented, it felt like the right move to make. We have so much gratitude to coach Mayben, (athletic director) Matt Sayre and (SOU President) Dr. Linda Schott for such support in welcoming us back.”
According to the release, Pistole informed both teams of her decision Sunday evening. She was offered the position in March, prior to SOU’s ongoing hiring freeze, but COVID-19-related issues delayed the announcement until now.
In her inaugural tenure at Southern Oregon, Pistole spent five seasons as the program’s head coach, a tenure that culminated in the NAIA National Championship title in the 2019 season. During that championship campaign, Pistole led the Raiders to a 52-8 overall record, including a 24-3 conference mark. The Raiders lost just one game in the entirety of the postseason, in the World Series championship round to force a winner-take-all final game, where they then emerged victorious.
The 2019 season marked the third consecutive year that Pistole led the Raiders to the NAIA World Series, as well as the second consecutive season the program reached the 50-win plateau. Southern Oregon never won fewer than thirty games under Pistole’s leadership, after posting a 15-23 record the season prior to her arrival.
Before assuming the helm at Southern Oregon, Pistole coached at the high school level, as well as stints as the head coach at NAIA schools Biola and William Jessup, including beginning the latter program from scratch and building it into a conference champion in two years. Her resume also includes a single season as an assistant coach at Utah State.